Soccer-Arnautovic's ACL role curtailed by Nations League return

HONG KONG, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Marko Arnautovic is expected to miss the start of Shanghai SIPG’s involvement in the group stages of the Asian Champions League after the striker joined Austria for their UEFA Nations League games against Northern Ireland and Norway next week.

The former West Ham United forward flew to Europe on Thursday to link up with his national team and will definitely miss SIPG’s match against Sydney FC on Nov. 19, which will be played the day after the game against the Norwegians.

The group phase of the Asian Champions League will be played in Qatar in a centralised format after the tournament was suspended earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SIPG’s second game in the competition is against two-time Asian champions Jeonbuk Motors from South Korea on Nov. 22.

Japanese champions Yokohama F Marinos feature in the same group.

Arnautovic joined the 2018 Chinese champions midway through the 2019 season from West Ham but has had a limited impact in the Chinese Super League. He scored seven times in 18 games in the league as SIPG finished a disappointing fourth. (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Richard Pullin)